In the teeth of the Great Depression, the founder of IBM, Tom Watson, Sr., made three very clever decisions at a time when everyone else was complaining and laying off their best people:
1. He hired the best salespeople away from his competitors.
2. He doubled his training budget, stressed basic sales skills, and encouraged his people to THINK.
3. He encouraged his people to DOUBLE their sales activity.
The result: He actually grew his business during the next few years. When the Depression ended (they always do!), he was positioned to gain the lion's share of his market. In short, he took the contrarian's approach, a counter-intuitive move that made him both rich and famous for the next 40 years. You can, too.
I recently returned from an amazing trip Down Under. Cheers, mates (Matt Michel and Allan Ferguson)! On the flight back, I had a chance to go over my notes from the other speakers I was fortunate to meet, listen to, chat with at dinner, read their books, and listen to their CDs. Here are some of my notes:
Since 1946, there have been eleven recessions, one every seven years. Get over it [and get to work]!
-Gene Burch, former plumber for 40 years, consultant
7 Leadership Insights from Hollywood Icon Clint Eastwood:
1. Trust your audience [customers]; they are smart.
2. Praise pays. Publicly acknowledge your team. Give the credit away!
3. Take your work seriously, but not yourself. Learn to laugh at yourself, your mistakes, and learn from them.
4. Finish what you start, segment by segment.
5. End by asking the audience [customers] a question.
6. Active listening should be taught in school.
7. Embrace improvisation; [it] equals happy accidents.
Mark Matteson, Leadership Seminar.
(Yes, I reviewed my own notes!)
I asked Allan Ferguson, a pioneer plumber Down Under, "What are the three things you did to double your business every year for the last seven years?" He replied:
1. We got great at marketing and selling.
2. We priced what we were worth. Don't be shy to ask for the money.
3. We borrowed boldly from the best. We keep learning.
Know who you are and what you are good at. Trust your instincts, do what you love, and work hard every day to get better.
This advice came from world-class street guitarist Tom Ward. He was on Australia's Got Talent. I stumbled upon him 'busking' (playing in public and selling CDs after each song) in downtown Sydney's shopping district. He told me on a good day he can earn $4,500 busking. This video will blow you away.
I played the best round of golf with the lowest score ever last week, a seventy-four; then my friend said, 'We got nine more holes to go.'
-Jim Hinshaw, speaker
Steve Jobs' 7 Leadership Insights:
1. Be invisible-it's not about you. Give credit away.
2. Be like the Beatles-the sum of the parts. Collaboration.
3. TV off, Mac on! They are different. Listen to your customers.
4. Find and keep the best people-interview 25 to find one associate.
5. We like to BUY our music, not RENT (on why subscribership failed). Commit to a sound business model.
6. We need a blend of talent, both tech genius and creative folks.
Build your team with diversity.
7. Business is marathon, not a 50-yard dash. It takes at least seven years to succeed.
Five Keys to Effective Marketing
1. Keep strict accounts; build your database
2. Stay in touch
3. Hone equals the Spaghetti System (throw lots against the wall and keep what sticks, toss what doesn't)
4. Track and measure results
5. Keep Learning
-Bob Russo, marketing professor
Frugal doesn't mean cheap. Focus on increasing and improving the service/quality experience for the customer. Deliver value to the customer. Stop the race to the bottom. There is no shortage of good people, rather a shortage of good owners.
-Kenny Chapman, author, speaker
Align your logo, name, and slogan to build your brand recognition.
-Matt Michel, CEO, speaker, author
Learn to ask the question to prospects, "May I have your permission to....?"
Get busy giving away more FREE stuff to your prospects.
Write thank-you notes and [give] books to prospects, friends, clients.
It's all about the database. Grow yours.
-David Jackson, Australian speaker, author
Take a page from Chick-fil-A: Teach your people to say, "My pleasure..." to any request.
-Brigham Dickson, CSR trainer
Here are 13 great ideas to maximize your training ROI:
- Take good notes in a journal. It's not what is said, but what you hear that matters.
- Invest in the speaker's products: books, CDs, MP3s, DVDs.
- Make a list of Action Items and commit to doing them upon your return.
- If you send more than one person from your company, upon your return, brainstorm and list all the ideas on a big white board with your team and prioritize the list. Commit to applying one idea a month for six months.
- Capture great quotes & ideas.
- Borrow powerful processes from mentors.
- Ask lots of questions like, "What are the three things you have done to grow your company?"
- Hand out your business cards to ten people you do not know.
- Proactively find mentors and stay in touch, reach out.
- Go back over your notes within 24 hours, again in a week, and again in a month.
- Make some time to really think about what you learned, who you met and what you are willing to change.
- Teach what you learned to someone else. It's called dual-plane learning. You will get 10 times more from the experience if you commit to doing that BEFORE you attend!
- Commit to doubling your training budget, both corporately and personally-like Tom Watson.
If you do any or all of these things, when the tide from this recession finally comes all the way back in, all the boats in your harbor will rise. Now where is that Tom Ward CD? I've got some reading to do.
Mark your calendars for October 19-21, 2012 in Edmonds, Washington for Info-Entreprenuers' Summit with Mark Matteson, Patrick Snow, and Kevin Knebl, three top experts in speaking, book publishing, and social media. Details to follow.